There are pivotal moments when you realize the world has changed and it’s not changing back to what it was. I was walking down Seventh Avenue in Manhattan recently when a young woman stopped dead in front of me to read a text on her phone. Not an egregious act, but in the heavy rush hour pedestrian traffic her sudden stop made me slam into her and the person behind me, who was also reading her phone, walked into me and stepped on the back of my sandal whose strap broke as I lifted my foot. At that moment, a young girl in a graduation outfit walked by parading along with a selfie stick held confidently in her hand and two women on my other side rushed past, one was chatting away about her friend who met a guy on Tinder and was having a long-distance relationship, and wasn’t that funny, since Tinder is all about meeting up with people who are nearby for rather immediate one-night stands.
I was irked by it all, I tell you, and all at once sad that I couldn’t change any of this. The way we are now is a foolish, chaotic mash-up of selfish behavior spurred by how we engage with technology and I don’t see that dynamic reversing, ever.
On the other hand...
I disentangled myself from my fellow pedestrians, made it to my commuter train and pulled out the proofing pages for our London General Managers Roundtable, which you will find here. How happy I was to be back in the company of this group, if only virtually, as I reflected on how gleefully they are embracing change, but of a much different sort. London is a city that has seen a steady influx of diverse new hotel supply in the upscale and luxury sectors; not all of it in the traditional neighborhoods. Those general managers at our roundtable expressed utter delight that the competition has gotten more intense. In fact, they were all grinning as they talked about the need to continually raise the bar on how they operate. For them, it’s a “Game on!” mentality as they enjoy each other’s success and strive to innovate as well at their own hotels.
There’s a parallel with these general managers and with the luxury travel advisors I was in touch with recently in preparing last month’s 10th Anniversary issue (more than 50 advisors in all were profiled). There’s a similar sense of well-grounded elation because business is excellent; advisors are finding new and creative ways to succeed in their businesses and they love being part of a community of other travel advisors who are also doing great things. Every day is exciting to these travel advisors, just as it is to the London general managers you’ll read about on our roundtable.
Take away? If you’re really good at what you do, you relish new competition because the challenge forces you to delve into a place you love to go, to focus on strategies and processes that excite you, and, along the way, you develop meaningful experiences for your clients. What an awesome win-win scenario.